Chapter 98: The Netherwood Coffin

Terror struck deep into the core of every cultivator in Dusk Province. Calamity Lu was back, and with even stronger patrons this time. No one was safe, not even notables from the Nephrite court!

Lu Qingxun wasn’t actually dead yet. His nascent spirit remained sealed inside his head, which now hung above Dusk City’s southern gates. The man’s miserable screams could sometimes be heard, aggravating the citizens’ already frayed nerves. That was an august immortal’s head! Immortals were rare in Dusk Province to begin with, not to mention a lofty august immortal!

Originally, the province’s cultivators were just waiting for the moment that Calamity Lu was expelled from his position, so they could hunt him down and dismember him into a thousand parts. But such revenge was now out of reach, whether he stayed as governor or not. 

Please, someone kill him in the competition five months from now!

……

Reconstruction had begun on the governor’s manor. Proceeding so quickly hadn’t been part of Lu Yun’s plan, as he’d initially wanted to secure his position first, but there was little choice now that his residence lay in ruins.

He tossed a handful of soybeans into the air and thirty-six armored warriors of the golden core realm descended from the skies, providing the requisite menial labor.

As for the manor’s protections, Lu Yun and Feinie had spent a long time looking through the Formation Orb before settling on an immortal-grade formation called the “Capsizing Dragon Quintet.” It provided double the power of its predecessor, the Enneawyrm Provenance Formation.

The corresponding feng shui layout was named the “Frolicking Dragon Quintet.” It gathered fortunes from all five orientations of the world—east, west, north, south, and center—and could slowly restore the province’s destroyed dragon vein.

However, the vein had been contaminated by evil energies for far too long. It would take untold years for it to regain its former glory from five millennia ago, when the province was in a golden age.

As for the stone, and other materials required, Lu Yun had allotted three days for Dusk City’s great houses to collect them. If they were to fail, they would follow in House Ge’s footsteps.

……

I’m allowed one more Envoy of Samsara at the moment. Should I recruit this princess after all? Inside the Gates of the Abyss, Lu Yun examined the bronze outer-coffin as he considered his options.

Of his three current envoys, Yuying was the Pill Fairy, Feinie was the Formation King, and Xuanxi was a prodigious talent in creating powerful talismans. He’d originally planned to make the next envoy a master craftsman.

Equipment, pills, formations, and talismans were the four strongest auxiliary paths in cultivation. These paths were supplemental to walking the immortal dao. Among them, equipment ranked first. Powerful treasures like immortal devices and flying swords all held great significance for cultivators and immortals alike.

More importantly, if he had a master craftsman at his disposal, he would gain their knowledge and be able to puzzle out how to refine the prized luopan of tomb raiders—the feng shui compass. He might even be able to manufacture the item outright! The compass could locate treasures, assess feng shui, pinpoint dragon veins, uncover a layout’s weaknesses, and decipher formations.

However, the dragon princess was hardly a craftsman and knew next to nothing about this auxiliary path.

Lu Yun’s Spectral Eye couldn’t see through the other casket inside the outer-coffin, nor could he discern the dragon princess’ circumstances. However, Xuanxi had once been her close attendant. Through her memories, he knew the princess was also a powerful immortal.

“The competition is drawing ever closer. Yuying, Feinie, and Xuanxi aren’t combat specialists. Feinie’s Nineteen Cerulean Sword Dragons may look powerful, but she can only summon seventeen swords. It’s still very incomplete.” He tightened his lips. “Fuck it, let’s go for broke! What’s the big deal? I’ll have another envoy slot when I reach the life core realm anyways.”

In Xuanxi’s memories, the princess called “Aoxue” commanded not only the combat arts of her race, but had also mastered the teachings of various schools and created her own martial style.

No one at her cultivation level was her match in close quarters, a trait that Lu Yun highly coveted. Many factions would certainly oppose him during the competition. The only way to secure his position would be by trouncing his opponents with overwhelming force.

He now knew who’d arranged for the bronze outer-coffin—the nefarious Wayfarer. But that Wayfarer was currently sealed on the Water Altar, so Lu Yun opened the coffin without fear or hesitation.

Rumble. 

The lid slid gently open with a dull sound, unleashing an overpowering crimson light that shot straight at the horizon and dyed the dark world a bright scarlet.

Yuying, Feinie, Zhao Dianliang, Yueshen, and the others stared fixedly at the eerie coffin, their figures shaking violently. There was a frosty sense to that bloodiness; it weighed down on their hearts and minds like a towering mountain.

Squashed beneath the outer-coffin, the Skyriver city lord shrieked as his body melted into a puddle of blood, sealing his death. Lu Yun paled, falling back and staring with disbelief at the coffin’s interior as a blood-red casket slowly floated up from within.

“A netherwood coffin!” he yelled.

Just like bronze outer-coffins, tomb raiders abhorred netherwood coffins. They’d rather face one of those thousand year mummies head-on than deal with one of these coffins!

Under ordinary circumstances, they’d immediately about face and leave without second thoughts. But Lu Yun now faced a netherwood coffin that was encased within a bronze outer-coffin! What kind of lunatic was Wayfarer to stack these two vile items together?!

Had he seriously been trying to create an unparalleled demon of pure malice?

Any corpse put inside a bronze outer-coffin or netherwood coffin would be demonized, transformed into an evil being of extreme yin, an existence that could rival a zombie king or a bloodcorpse.

“The princess must be a monster by now.” Lu Yun took a deep breath and stepped forward. “Go back!” he shouted sternly.

Boom! 

The Tome of Life and Death shook as the energy inside the Gates of the Abyss converged to ferociously push the floating casket back inside the outer-coffin. But the moment the force vanished, it rose in the air once again.

“Damn it!” Color drained from Lu Yun’s face. “It’s not an ordinary netherwood coffin, it’s also a hanging coffin!”

A hanging coffin was one of a coffin’s possible conditions. Any coffin could become one, and their appearance implied that the corpse inside had already mutated into an unknown, harrowing monster. It might be a bloodcorpse, a zombie king, or something even more appalling.

“What a dreadful existence!” Yueshen’s complexion was so white it was almost transparent. Intense fear was radiating from the depths of her soul.

Though known as nightmares amongst tomb raiders, the nine bloodcorpses shrieked at the coffin’s emergence and hid behind Yueshen, cowering in fear. It would seem that even immortal ghosts and bloodcorpses were terrified of the newborn entity.

Three immortal fires ignited in Yuying’s hand as Feinie gripped the Formation Orb.

“No matter who you are, you will fall in line as long as you’re inside my domain,” Lu Yun growled. Hellfire combusted all around him, and the Tome of Life and Death emerged from his dantian to shield the realm inside the Gates of the Abyss.

“Rend!” With a resounding roar, Lu Yun struck the hanging coffin with all his strength, shattering it entirely. A scarlet light blossomed and turned the world behind the gates into a sea of blood.


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etvolare's Thoughts

Lol, I think this is the worst death so far for an Infernum. He spent his undead life crushed under a coffin and then just... died. And having that head hang on the city gates is really... ew. odious.

Folks, I centralized my earlier graphics of NECRO geography and cultivation system because the question's been asked ten thousand times. It's the same one as the ones I posted to Twitter last month/been responding to in the comments, so folks who've already seen it, it's nothing new to ya.